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Re: If FOSS isn't your number one concern, why use IceCat?

From: Mark H Weaver
Subject: Re: If FOSS isn't your number one concern, why use IceCat?
Date: Sun, 17 Nov 2019 14:19:06 -0500

Hi Philip,

Haniho Dude <address@hidden> wrote:
> It has been 6 months since the last build and if my experience with
> the previous build is anything to go by, this means that IceCat will
> be behind Firefox ESR in terms of security updates. It is impossible
> for any such browser to be secure and therefore I cannot believe that
> IceCat protects my privacy.

I agree that upstream IceCat has had a terrible record in recent years
for issuing timely security updates, and that this is a very severe

However, I also have some good news:

* For the last 5 years, I've been keeping the IceCat package in GNU Guix
  consistently up-to-date w.r.t. to security fixes from Mozilla,
  typically within a couple of days of Mozilla's release.  For a few
  years I did so by cherry-picking security fixes from the upstream
  Mozilla source code repository, but more recently I've taught Guix how
  to run 'makeicecat' on the latest Firefox ESR source tarball.  I
  invite you to examine my record of updates to GNU Guix and compare it
  with Mozilla's security advisories:

  GNU Guix can be used to produce an up-to-date IceCat source tarball
  that (I hope) should build on any system that IceCat supports.  At
  present, Guix contains a preliminary preview version of IceCat-68.2.

* I've recently been appointed as co-maintainer of the IceCat project,
  so the security work that I've been doing for the past 5 years in Guix
  will henceforth be done for upstream IceCat.

* Mike Gerwitz and Amin Bandali have also recently been appointed as
  co-maintainers, so the bus factor of the IceCat project is now much

I'm currently focused on fixing the remaining issues in the IceCat-68.2
preview.  When that's done, hopefully in the next week or two, we'll
make an official IceCat-68.2 release, and I assure you that IceCat will
henceforth produce security releases in a timely fashion.


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